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This lesson is part of the Pre-Intermediate Spanish Course
(69 Spanish video or mp3 lessons. 4 hrs 41 mins)


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In this Spanish lesson we are going to learn how to conjugate (modify a verb from its base form) the verb Can in Spanish – el verbo Poder. This is one of the more useful Spanish verbs that we use very often in regular, everyday conversation and therefore it merits attention and practice. We will continue looking at the verb Can in Spanish in our next Spanish lesson where we will see examples of Poder in use with sentences of obligation. Can/Poder is a “modal verb”. This is a type of auxiliary/extra verb that is used to indicate modality – likelihood, ability, permission, or obligation. It functions slightly differently to regular Spanish verbs in that another verb follows it in its infinitive/base form. For example, with “I can swim” (yo puedo nadar) we have the verb can immediately followed by the verb swim. In English Can is a very easy verb to conjugate as it is the same for all persons, but in Spanish Poder changes a lot according to the person. Don’t forget, though, that the second verb always stays in the infinitive/base form – you don’t have to conjugate both verbs.

Lesson notes:

Poder: Can
(yo) Puedo: I can
(tú) Puedes: You can
(usted) Puede: You can (formal)
(Él/ella) Puede: He/she can
(nosotros) Podemos: We can
(vosotros) Podéis: You can (group)
(ustedes) Pueden: You can (formal/group)
(ellos) Pueden: They can

Activity:

Translate the following…

We can
They can
You can (formal)
You can (group)
He can

Here are some possible answers to the last activity:

Ganar mucho dinero en poco tiempo: Tienes que trabajar mucho; hay que jugar a la lotería.
Aprender bien un idioma: Debes hablar con nativos; hay que leer en ese idioma.
Olvidar pronto un amor: Tienes que salir con tus amigos; debes ir de vacaciones.
Conseguir un buen trabajo: Hay que estudiar mucho; debes tener buenos contactos.

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